One day I was pruning some small trees and I wasn’t even aware that there was poison ivy around. The next morning I noticed a sort of rashy, bumpy area about the size of a dime on my right ring finger. My mom, an RN, diagnosed it as a bite of some sort. Oh, but it was worse than that. Every day after that, it spread all over my hand. My hand sort of went numb all over and my fingers were swollen and hard to move. The itch is not the only thing that is bad – it’s also nights without a wink of sleep. Eventually, the 2.5 inch high blisters subsided and the itch as well, but I was left with a scar to remind me of the dreaded poison ivy.
A month went by and it was time for another trip up to the hunting camp. We decided to move a tree stand that had been blown over in a recent twister. I knew that poison ivy was out there, but I didn’t know where. No one ever saw the vine running along the tree like fire on a stick. While my dad and uncle held a ladder I climbed up it to the top to lock a chain in place. I got to the top and was securing the chain down from one side of the stand to the other when my dad said “Watch out! I think that vine is poison ivy”.
Now I’m sitting at home with cream all over both arms and my face including my lips and ears and eyelids. With bandages on my arms and hands, I can barely type. But I want to get the message out to all the ‘out-doorsy’ types to take the time to look around at where you’re going to be working or hunting. Trust me, a few minutes of time is definitely worth it, or else you’re gonna end up just like me.